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Viagra may be available over counter.

The anti-impotence drug Viagra could become available to buy over the counter at chemists later this year.

A review is under way to see whether the potency pill and a host of other prescription-only medicines should be reclassified to allow them to be sold at pharmacies in supermarkets and high streets.

The move would raise the prospect of Viagra being used as a social drug, to spice up sex lives, rather than just treatment for a medical condition.

The Medicines Control Agency, which would have to approve any reclassification, said the earliest it could happen would be 120 days from April, though it warned it would be likely to be longer.

The Government wants more medicines to be available in pharmacies to make them more accessible and save the NHS millions of pounds.

A new fast-track system for reclassifying drugs as pharmacy medicines is expected to be approved by April. It would then take as little as 120 days, though probably longer, for applications by drug manufacturers to be assessed.

The Medicines Control Agency has asked the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain to hold consultations about which drugs would be suitable candidates, and Viagra is among the medicines being considered.

A spokesman for the MCA said: 'An indicative list of medicines, which are possible candidates for wider availability, has been developed by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain as part of a wider review of how access to medicines can be improved.'
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Feb 9, 2002
Words:244
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